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MLB Predictions Saturday | Expert Picks, Odds, Previews Today (April 27)
Updated:2024-05-11 13:57    Views:70

Welcome to Opening Pitch, our daily column that you'll find throughout the 2024 MLB season.

The goal for Opening Pitch is to highlight top daily projection edges for MLB moneylines and totals, share favorite bets and provide some betting notes and analysis.

As a reminder, you can find all of my bets in the Action Network App and get live alerts every time I log a new bet.

You can also find expert projections for every MLB game in the Action App (on both the PRO Projections tab and the game pages) and our Projections Hub.

You can also shop for the best lines on our MLB Odds page.

Here are my favorite bets for Saturday, April 27.

MLB Predictions Saturday | Expert Picks, Odds, Previews Today (April 27)Reds vs. RangersSaturday, April 274:05 p.m. ETFOXReds OddsSpreadTotalMoneyline+1.5-1889+100o / -122u+114Rangers OddsSpreadTotalMoneyline-1.5+1559+100o / -122u-134Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Hunter Greene vs. Michael Lorenzen 

Hunter Greene has been a bit unlucky to begin this season and is a positive regression candidate. His ERA is currently sitting at 4.55, but his expected ERA is over two runs lower at 2.52.

Greene does it all with basically two pitches, but man are they both really good. His fastball averages 98.2 mph, which the third-fastest in MLB. Not only that, but it has 17.8 inches of induced vertical break, which makes it even harder for hitters to get on top of. It's no surprise that it has a Stuff+ rating of 140, which is second best in baseball behind only Jared Jones.

It's pretty notable that since the start of last season, the Rangers have been a top-five offense against fastballs. But in this matchup, if we exclusively look at how they have performed against fastballs 98 mph or faster, they only have a .272 xwOBA, which is 17th in the league.

Greene is struggling to command his slider, but it's still a really good offering. Stuff+ grades it out at 131, which is 12th among qualified starting pitchers. The problem is he's hung way too many of them. Only 59.6% of his sliders are in the bottom part of the strike zone and the average launch angle on his slider is one of the highest.

With that being said, Greene's corrected his home run problem — something that has plagued him over his first two years in the big leagues — lowering his HR/FB % by almost 10%.

MLB Best Bets for Saturday's GamesRead now

Michael Lorenzen really wasn't that great with the Angels or the Phillies last season, posting a 4.55 xERA. His first two starts with the Rangers have been good on paper, but his expected ERA is well over six.

The problem with Lorenzen is that he's too reliant on his fastball and sinker — otherwise, his secondary pitches are actually quite good. He throws his fastball and sinker a combined 50% of the time — both of those pitches have a Stuff+ rating below 80. Additionally, he's really struggling with his command, with an 18.2% walk rate and 94 Location+. Not only that, but when hitters make contact, they are crushing as the right-hander is allowing a .469 xwOBACON.

With the drastic edge in the starting pitching matchup for the Reds, I don't think they should be this big of an underdog. I have Cincinnati projected at -102, so I like the value on them at +117.

Pick:Reds ML (+117 via BetRivers)

Phone With the Action App OpenThe must-have app for MLB bettorsThe best MLB betting scoreboardFree picks from proven prosLive win probabilities for your betsDOWNLOAD NOWRoyals vs. TigersSaturday, April 276:10 p.m. ETBally SportsRoyals OddsSpreadTotalMoneyline-1.5+1588-115o / -105u-104Tigers OddsSpreadTotalMoneyline+1.5-1928-115o / -105u-112Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Brady Singer vs. Casey Mize

Brady Singer has been pretty good to start the season, posting a 4.22 xERA with a drastically improved his ground-ball rate due to his slider and fastball.

While that is all well and good, he has terrible stuff and he’s going to have to be really, really good with the command of his arsenal to be consistently effective. This season, he has a Stuff+ rating of 85 — his fastball is at 72 and his sinker is at 65. His slider grades out as average and it’s the pitch he throws the most often at 46%,  and he’s still allowing a .359 xwOBA with it.

Only being able to throw one pitch effectively isn't going to be good enough against Detroit. The Tigers offense has struggled to begin the season, but they are due for positive regression as their xwOBA is 20 points higher than their actual wOBA.

Casey Mize is finally starting to show the potential that made him a top draft pick. He's overperformed his expected metrics a little bit, but his pitch arsenal looks really good right now.

He has a Stuff+ rating of 115, and his fastball is dominating hitters. He's throwing his heater over 40% of the time, so it's really important that he's effective with it. The velocity is up to 95.3 mph after being down around 93 mph in 2022. He's using that pitch up in the zone to get hitters and it's been really effective at keeping the ball off the barrel, as he's only allowing a .318 xwOBACON on his fastball.

Then he has a wipe-out split-finger that most hitters cannot figure out. The pitch has a Stuff+ rating of 144 and has so much horizontal movement, making it almost impossible to hit. Opposing hitters only have a .193 wOBA against the offering and it's producing a 38.5% whiff rate, according to Baseball Savant.

Casey Mize, Wicked 87mph Splitter. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/pyS3B6zcgX

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 16, 2024

There is a pretty wide discrepancy between the bullpens in the game.

The Royals have one pitcher who is above average. It's their closer, James McArthur, who has a Pitching+ rating of 108. The Royals have a 90 Stuff+ as a bullpen, which is dead last in baseball by a mile. Their bullpen has widely overperformed to begin the season — their ERA is 3.31, but their xFIP is at 4.61, which is the third highest in baseball.

I have the Tigers projected at -157, so I like the value on them at -112.

Pick:Tigers ML (-112 via FanDuel)

Twins vs. AngelsSaturday, April 279:38 p.m. ETBally SportsTwins OddsSpreadTotalMoneyline+1.5-2058.5-105o / -115u+108Angels OddsSpreadTotalMoneyline-1.5+1688.5-105o / -115u-126Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Chris Paddack vs. Jose Soriano

Chris Paddack is struggling out of the gates with an xERA of 5.50. His main problem has been command of his changeup and fastball.

Both pitches are allowing over a .330 wOBA and his fastball grades out as below average by Stuff+ because his velocity is down a full tick from 2023. He also is leaving his fastball up in the zone far too often, which is eventually going to cost him. He is also allowing an absurd 16% barrel rate on his changeup.

Paddack was incredibly dominant in his last start, striking out 10 over seven scoreless innings … but that was against the White Sox. In his other three starts, he got hit around pretty good. He wasn't able to post an xFIP below four in any of those outings.

As for the Halos, Jose Soriano might be a name you need to know going forward. He pitched out of the bullpen for all of 2023, but he has recently made the move to the starting rotation in 2024.

In three starts, Soriano has a 3.24 xFIP and opponents are only hitting .189 against him. He boasts a strikeout rate of 30.2% as well.

Why is Soriano so effective? Pure unadulterated velocity. He throws a fastball that averages 99.1 mph and a sinker that averages 97.6 mph. He throws his sinker down in the zone 64% of the time, so at that velocity, it's really difficult to hit.

However, his main go-to pitch is a knuckle-curve — and it's a good one. It has a Stuff+ rating of 111 and Soriano is only allowing a .132 xBA. It's also producing a 42% whiff rate.

José Soriano, Nasty 88mph Knuckle Curve…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/bQmaAZ9gmj

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 16, 2024

The Twins have struggled against right-handed pitching with a wRC+ of just 93. Not only that, but since the beginning of last season, they only have a .219 xwOBA against right-handed knuckle-curves.

I have the Angels projected at -149, so I like the value on them at -126.

Pick:Angels ML (-126 via FanDuel)